As the wildly popular Carolina Renaissance Festival returns to celebrate its 28th year, organizers are committed to community involvement by providing reoccurring support to non-profit organizations located throughout the region.

Over 100 non-profit organizations are selected by the Festival to be recipients of complimentary admission tickets and prizes for use in auctions, raffles, and other fund-raising events. Free admission opportunities are made available to the public in exchange for the donation of charitable items servicing a variety of needs. In total, the Festival makes available over $300,000 in free admission opportunities, according to Festival organizers.

This past weekend, October 23 and 24, was Celtic Music Weekend; a special themed weekend dedicated to the celebration of Celtic Music and where visitors are encouraged to donate gently used or new coats for children in need in exchange for free child admission to the Festival. The event is made possible courtesy of WSOC-TV’s Steve Udelson and his annual Coats for Kids charity drive with coats distributed by the Crisis Assistance Ministry.

November 13 and 14 are Time Travelers’ Weekend; a special themed weekend where the Festival encourages visitors to attend as they are or dressed as their favorite characters inspired by the film, comic books, and literature, and “time travel” to the Renaissance. Special events include a costume contest and book signings by popular local authors. And children ages 12 and under are admitted for free with the donation of school supplies and/or books at the Festival entry and with items benefiting Classroom Central and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. This weekend is made possible with the support of Parent-Teacher Magazine.

November 20 and 21 is the Festival’s Final Huzzah; the final weekend of the season and the last chance to chomp a turkey leg before Thanksgiving. Children ages 12 and under are admitted for free with the donation of canned food items at the Festival entry and with donations benefitting Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.

The Festival also works with the American Red Cross to coordinate an annual blood drive and offers free admission to those who donate. This year’s blood drive resulted in the collection of 66 pints of blood, which may save or sustain 198 lives, according to the American Red Cross.

The Festival offers organizations the opportunity to raise funds by coordinating teams of volunteers to perform a variety of volunteer tasks. Among the tasks at the Festival may be assisting with food service, directing cars, litter control, and/or operating one of 16 outdoor stages. Festival organizers will donate to the organization, or any charity of their choice, a lump sum equal to $15 to $20 per volunteer service hour.

On the Festival’s website, non-profits can learn more about partnering. The Carolina Renaissance Festival is open every Saturday and Sunday, October 2 through November 21. 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. rain or shine. You can see more information here.

Check Out Some Photos from The Carolina Renaissance Festival!


Alexis Zarycki is your average girl with the hopes of leaving an everlasting impact on the world. Follow her on Instagram @official_lexpaige